Natural Wonders of Ireland Series: Skellig Islands
The rugged and remote Skellig Michael lies 7 miles off the coast of the Ivaragh Peninsula in County Kerry. This spectacular, twin-peaked Crag is a place of natural beauty. Accessible only by boat in the summer months, the island is of archaeological importance thanks to its 6th-century monastery.
The island and its smaller brother Little Skellig have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for their history and ornithological importance.
The monastic settlement, believed by archaeologists to date from the 6th century, is famous for its very good state of preservation. The remains of a tower house, a megalithic stone row and a cross-shaped slab known as "The Wailing Woman" are still on the site. The monastery can be reached by 600 narrow, steep stone steps leading up from the jetties around the island.
The Hermitage is located on the opposite side of the island from the monastery, just below the southern path, and is largely closed to the public due to difficult and dangerous access. Although the history of the hermitage is not as well studied as the Monastry it is believed to date back to the 9th Century.
Both Skellig Michael and Little Skellig are renowned for their seabird colonies, which are deemed as one of the most important in Ireland because of their size and diversity. The Islands are also known for their sea life including seals, basking sharks, Minke whales and dolphins. The Islands are a popular diving site, thanks to their crystal clear waters and underwater caves.
Skellig Michael has become increasingly popular in recent years, having served as the filming location for the movies Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and the movie Byzantium. Although you can not visit the filming location, you can see it from the higher part of the monastery.
The island is only accessible by boat during the summer months, and to preserve the site, only 180 people are allowed to visit daily. It takes about two and a half hours to climb the 600 steps up to the monastery, which rewards the brave climber with a breathtaking view of the island back to the west coast of the mainland. It is no wonder that this monastery is one of Ireland's Natural Wonders and well worth a visit.
Mel and Paul had the pleasure of visiting Skellig Michael a couple of years ago, and this visit sparked our very popular Skelligs tee design.
Visit our website today and check out our Skellig tee range.
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Due South is a sustainable and responsible fashion brand based in Dublin. Our unique designs are produced by our founder Paul and showcase all of the beauty and wonders that Ireland has to offer. All our products are made from either 100% organic cotton or 100% recycled materials and are certified vegan friendly.